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Full text of "The Egyptian Problem"

78                     THE EGYPTIAN PROBLEM                CHAP.
aspects the stamp of the one great personality who presided over it. Lord Oromer was not, and certainly never claimed to be, infallible. He made, and himself admitted that he made, mistakes. He was not always a good judge of character, and he allowed his judgment to be sometimes overborne by his loyalty to those who served under him, but no one could ever suspect him of favouritism. There was nothing mean or selfish in him or in his policy. In the great measures directly due to his own initiative, Egyptians and Englishmen alike knew that he was prompted by a profound sense of responsibility for the welfare of the people committed to his charge. The best work done by England in Egypt can be traced back to his master mind, and it is the work that has endured., He found the mass of the Egyptian people plunged in the slough of despond by the ruthless despotism and extravagant profligacy of their rulers. Though his own Government gradually gave him as free a hand as • was compatible with the international anomalies of England's position in Egypt, he had constantly to contend with reactionary obstruction on the part of the very classes in Cairo to which alone he had to look for assistance in carrying on the executive work of administration. With a patience as indomitable as his energy, he transformed a bankrupt and exhausted country into a land of plenty and contentment unprecedented in its own annals. To that extent at any rate, when he left Egypt at the end of his long tenure of office he could rightly claim to have proved our title to the guardianship which the force of circumstances had driven us to assume over the people of Egypt.
The charge is now commonly heard amongst Egyptians, and it was sometimes brought by his own fellow-countrymen even before he retired, that he had applied himself too exclusively to the material advancement of Egypt and had deliberately neglected the intellectual and moral improvement of her people. He felt very keenly the injustice of that charge, and in the farewell speech *For the first period of the Occupation bears in all its